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Not even run-of-the-skill

india Updated: Nov 11, 2007 22:13 IST

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India’s youth are sorely lacking in the skills quotient with over 90 per cent of the ‘qualified’ being termed unemployable. This shocking revelation comes in the latest India Labour Report, commissioned by a human resources agency. It concludes that only 10 per cent of school and college graduates had the required set of skills to be recruited into any vocational job.

Given that the majority of jobs in India are skill-based, it’s most worrying that standards have fallen so much that 90 per cent of a fresh batch of potential workers is not equipped to take up any job. We’ve sure taken our time to figure this out. Taken in tandem with earlier reports that have branded over 75 per cent of India’s engineering graduates as unemployable, the scenario becomes even more grim. But is anyone looking at rescuing vocational training or even higher education from the depths of mediocrity?

The largest share of new jobs over the next decade will be in infotech, IT-enabled services, organised retail, media, construction and real estate, telecom, healthcare and insurance. The demand for a skilled workforce is only going to grow. Yet on the one hand, we have reports eulogising the emergence of entrepreneurship in these sectors, while on the other, the sectors are hard-pressed when it comes to recruiting manpower to run their operations. The important question is whether anyone is addressing the unemployability factor, which can very well become a greater source of concern than unemployment, if not tackled on a priority basis. The answer, it would appear, is in the negative. Last heard, the HRD Ministry was engaged in a fencing match being fought, ministry-style, over the need for ‘control’ in public-private partnerships in higher education.

But yes, finally, the first step towards the setting up of a National Steering Committee for the upgradation of the government’s Industrial Training Institutes is in place. And what does this committee hope to achieve? We should know in a few years’ time. After all, it’s no secret that it’s not only our youth that lacks calibre.